Relocation boosts coffee house

A move to the waterfront and freshly roasted coffee is taking one of Apia’s oldest cafés to the next level. 

The Coffee Bean, formerly on Falealili Street, moved to Beach Road on the weekend and the owner reports already seeing a surge in customers.

Andrew Padrana made the bold move to relocate his café from its location of 10 years to a larger shop with what he calls a “million dollar view”.

His regulars followed him to the waterfront, he said, and the foot traffic from tourists has been immense.

“Staring out over the water versus into the carpark makes a lot of difference,” Mr. Padrana said.

 Coffee Bean shifted shop in just one afternoon, with the whole community getting involved to move furniture, fit out the kitchen and put a few essential decorations in place.

 “The place was like a playpen with all their kids running around,” said Mr. Padrana.

“We worked until 9pm and I ordered pizza, so we sat outside eating and right at the moment the sign writers delivered the big Coffee Bean sign, so the timing couldn’t have been better.”

Mr. Padrana said he has big plans for ensuring food and drink at Coffee Bean is as local as possible.

Having a local coffee blend is still a little way off, he said, because Samoa doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to grade, dry and roast coffee at an international standard.

But until that happens, coffee growers bring him small buckets of coffee beans for the team to peel by hand and experiment with.

“It’s all really fun but I wouldn’t say it’s scientific,” said Mr. Padrana. 

The new Coffee Bean is the old E.F.K.S. bookstore and is still owned by the church, which means trading on Sundays is off the table.

Sunday used to be Coffee Bean’s busiest day by far, but the new location seems to be making up the business with its increased accessibility.

What was at first a big risk has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

“This Sunday was my first day off in six months, so I didn’t know what to do with myself come Sunday morning,” he said laughing.

“I can’t complain, it was really good and I may even think about going to church.”

To make up for the lack of business on a Sunday, Mr. Padrana has decided to extend the café’s hours until 10pm from Thursday to Saturday, and will eventually sell a selection of wine as well.

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